I have often wondered why God appears to be so coy when interacting with us, even in the Bible. Why is it that I can’t ask God a question and hear right back from him as plain as if I asked another person a question? Instead, it seems that I have to try to interpret dreams, decipher situations, or otherwise try to make sense of the things that happen afterward to see if there is a message or answer to my question. Why can’t God just tell me what to do since He knows the right way to go?
It would be so nice if God was just upfront with us in the sense that we didn’t have to guess or wonder what He is saying. Perhaps he could materialize in front of us and have a conversation that we would never forget, or would we? Perhaps we could see the handwriting on the wall from God to answer our questions or direct us on the proper path. Such is not the case, but why?
In this study, I will answer the questions presented above. I hope to show that God is not being coy, but rather our expectations of Him are not based on fact, but rather our illusions or dogma. God does talk to us, but not in ways that we think or perhaps expect.
Psalm 32:8-9 (NKJV)  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you.
Consider carefully what this passage reveals to us about God’s direction for our lives. It says the following.
- God will teach us in the way you should go
- He will guide you
- He will counsel you with his eye on you
- He will not pull your strings like riding a horse to tell you what to do
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could pray to God for direction when we have to make a decision and God simply tells us what to do?? We wouldn’t have to think, contemplate, or discern which path to take or what choice to make because God would simply tell us. Sometimes we treat God like that, I.e., as if He is the puppet master pulling our strings. That is a wonderful picture that many of us have about God, but that image of Him is wrong, I.e., not consistent with what the Bible reveals to us.
The Bible does not reveal God as a benevolent being that gives us the answers to all of life’s tests if we ask Him. He does not pull our strings or control us like one would control a horse. Instead, God instructs us and counsels us. That is how He directs us.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
The above passage instructs us to trust the LORD with all our heart and not to depend on our own understanding. It goes on to say that we must acknowledge God (be aware of His presence in our day-to-day circumstances) and God will direct (make smooth or straight) our paths. We see here that we first must depend on God, be aware of Him, and He will make our way smooth or straight. Note that God will not automatically make our paths straight. We have to trust Him and not rely on our own understanding.
I should say, and you already know, that it is not easy to deny our own understanding of the challenges that we face. One of the first things we try to do is to figure the thing out and develop a path that will rescue us or take us to the desired destination. Relying on God is not usually the first thing we think of unless we are already accustomed to doing so and have experienced God’s way in our lives.
James 1:5 (NKJV) –  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Wisdom is the art of being successful, of forming the correct plan to gain the desired results (from the New Bible Dictionary, Third Edition). Biblical wisdom refers to practical skills associated with understanding and living a successful life (The Lexham Bible Dictionary). We might say that wisdom is the ability to discern the proper course of action for a particular situation or course in life.
The fact that we can receive wisdom from God means that we should not assume that God will tell us what to do in situations, but rather that we will be able to discern, from His instruction, the proper course of action to take in situations. Therefore, when we face challenges in our lives, we do not need, nor should we, rely on God to merely give us the answer or to tell us which way to go without any involvement from us. He will tell us what to do and how to proceed, but not in the way that we may think. He will guide us through His wisdom and understanding. He will instruct us and through that instruction, He will show us which way to go.
Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV) —  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
This is a very important passage with regards to how God helps us in the circumstances that we find ourselves in. For example, you may ask if you should purchase one house or the other or if you should go to this school or that. How would you know? Would God give you a dream telling you which school to attend or which house to purchase? If He did, would you believe that it was Him after the novelty of the dream wore off? This is why instruction from God is so powerful.
The passage above tells us that to respect (and obey) God is where wisdom begins and a relationship with God is understanding. Wisdom and understanding, therefore, starts with a relationship with God and obeying or living His word.
The Importance of God’s Word
Matthew 4:4 (NKJV) —  But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
God is not going to dictate to you every answer to the decisions you face in life. He is not going to control you as one would a horse to get you to take the proper paths in life. He is going to instruct you and guide you. He will speak to you through His word and His Holy Spirit. God does not want His people to be mindless and without wisdom. God doesn’t seem to want people who have to be told everything to do. He wants people to think for themselves and make their own decisions based on His instruction and guidance. This means that we must know the word of God because it is through the Word that we can receive the principles that we should live by. Knowing those principles will help to guide us in the decisions that we have to make.
There will always be times when we are not sure if the path that we have chosen is indeed the correct path. Perhaps we were rushing or perhaps we simply made a mistake in judgment. The bottom line is that there will be times when we simply are not 100% sure. I use the term “uncertainty” here to denote the idea that we may not be 100% sure that the course of action we are taking is the best. We can induce that from the wisdom and the instruction we have from God. However, there may be no direct promise in the Bible to make us feel completely certain that what we are about to do is correct. This is different from doubt as it relates to faith. We can be 100% sure that God will do what He said. Sometimes we simply may not be confident that God said it.
We have to realize that we will make mistakes and even in those mistakes, God will make our paths straight. Abraham went off course when he was waiting for the promised child. However, God’s will was still accomplished through Abraham. We may make bad financial or relationship decisions but we have to realize that God has not abandoned us when that happens.
We could say that there is no uncertainty when there is faith. However, I would beg to differ. There is total certainty when we put our trust in God. However, the issue that we face many times is not whether or not God could be trusted, but rather if we are truly relying on God or if we interpreted scripture properly, etc. The problem is not with God, but with our understanding of God’s word or even our own motives. This will always be the case. However, as we practice obeying God’s word and living God’s word, we will become comfortable with that uncertainty and learn to move forward knowing that God is always with us.
I would suggest that if you have seriously sought the Lord for instruction and have done your due diligence in using wisdom to determine the course of action to take, then you should be very confident and steadfast in your decision. Assume that God has directed you and that you have made the “right” decision.
There are many ways that the voice of God may reach us to help us. Below are some things that I have learned to be aware of when desiring help from God.
Directly By His Spirit
God may speak to you directly by His Spirit within you with regards to warnings or sudden situations. You may “hear” within a voice telling you to do something urgently. That may very well be the Spirit of God helping you. In the Bible, we will find God warning Joseph with regards to Mary and Jesus. God warned Joseph in a dream, which means that dreams had much more meaning in that culture than it does in ours.
Have you ever said something like, “Something told me not to do that?” I believe that sometimes that “something” was God trying to instruct you or warn you about your decision or He was trying to guide you onto another course of action. We should heed that voice that arises inside of us.
The Counsel of Others
The counsel of others around you. God may send someone to counsel you. They may have already been prepared to help you. One may wonder why God wouldn’t simply speak to us directly. However, the Bible doesn’t reveal that God does that every time.?
The incidence of Jethro and Moses that is recorded in the Bible illustrates this point perfectly. Moses was judging the people who were many. Jethro told Moses that he would wear him and the people out by operating in the manner that he was. Jethro recommended a system of delegation and escalation to ease the burden on him and the people. Moses heeded Jethro’s advice for the better. One might ask, “why didn’t God tell him that?”? God did, through Jethro.?
By His Word Living Inside of You
One of the most prevalent ways that God speaks to us is through His word that lives inside of us. After all, God’s word is a living thing (John 6:63, Hebrews 4:12). When we are about to do things, make decisions, etc., a scripture may pop into our heads to guide us or perhaps confirm our course of action. This is only possible if you have placed the word of God in your mind and your heart so that it can “pop up” when needed.
God does not want people who are controlled by Him. He wants us to use the mind and brainpower that He gave us. He wants us to use the wisdom that comes from Him in our daily lives. God wants to instruct us and through that instruction, show us the way to go. He wants us to rely on Him through faith and knowledge of His word to do the “right” thing.
In relying on God for direction, we must consume the word of God regularly so that we at least know what He said and what He has made available to us. ?We must also build a relationship with God and not think of Him merely as the answer man. It is through the relationship with God that we can gain understanding and obtain wisdom.
Yes. Trust God. Read the Bible and become very familiar with God’s word. Rest in confidence knowing that trusting God is a good thing and will bear you great fruit. Don’t be afraid to make decisions using God’s wisdom and your own ability to think. It appears that such is what God wants of you.